By Rob Ketcham, Cullman Times:
Many had already made up their minds about Blake Sims as Alabama’s quarterback far before he took a snap in Saturday’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against West Virginia. And even after throwing for 250 yards and an interception on 24-of-33 passing in a 33-23 win, his reviews are still sorely mixed. Some liked Sims. Others are already in arms about an immediate switch to Jake Coker.
By Michael Casagrande, al.com:
Hurry-up offenses have been a source of frustration for Nick Saban. They eliminate real-time coaching and the ability to substitute. And, while Saban freely calls Alabama’s offense “like the dinosaur age” when it comes to their offensive personnel and play calling, he dipped a toe in the no-huddle pool Saturday. The Crimson Tide ripped the wrapper off its own version of the HUNH in the 33-23 win over a speedy West Virginia. Alabama’s quietly worked on the new look since the summer and was the splashiest change in Lane Kiffin’s debut as offensive coordinator. Unveiling it late in the first half, Alabama ran a total of 82 plays — more than any it had in 2013 when the Tide averaged 63.5 snaps.
By Nate Loop, Bleacher Report:
Alabama clearly has an embarrassment of riches at running back, with Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon all set to dish out plenty of punishment to college defenses in 2014. The pair combined for 239 yards and three touchdowns in the Crimson Tide’s 33-23 victory over West Virginia University on Saturday. Head coach Nick Saban always seems to have two exemplary running backs under his command to take turns mowing down opposing defenses. It’s a strategy that has brought Alabama three national titles since 2009.
By John Taylor, NBC Sports:
Following the game, Nick Saban said that starting wide receiver DeAndrew White suffered what the head coach described as a “little separated shoulder.” At least for the moment, the prognosis is that White will be out for a week or so.
By Ken Bradley, Sporting News:
When push came to shove Saturday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Alabama did what Alabama does. It pushed harder. And eventually, West Virginia relented, unable to withstand the punishing ground game that has been the signature piece to Alabama’s dominance in the Nick Saban era. Everyone was interested in what Alabama would do at quarterback. Blake Sims started — FSU transfer Jacob Coker didn’t take a snap — and he was solid (24-of-33, 250 yards). But he didn’t win the game for the second-ranked Crimson Tide. Isn’t that the debate at Alabama — that the quarterback doesn’t have to win games? When it came down to it, all Sims had to do was hand the ball off to the 1-2 punch of T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry.
Blake Sims took a seat on the bench next to Jake Coker after leading Alabama to a score and the two chatted for a few minutes before it was time for the offense to go back on the field. Conversation was the only thing Sims and Coker shared at the Georgia Dome. The quarterback job, Sims had all to himself. The fifth-year senior played well enough in his first career start to keep playing, getting plenty of help from Amari Cooper, T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, and the second-ranked Crimson Tide held off West Virginia 33-23 on Saturday. Sims was 24-for-33 for 250 yards, added 42 running, threw one interception in the fourth quarter, and took every meaningful offensive snap. Tide coach Nick Saban said leading into the game that both Sims and Coker, the Florida State transfer, might play but there was only one point during the game that he thought about pulling the starter.
By Michael Casagrande, al.com:
Favored by more than three touchdowns, this was supposed to be a little easier for Alabama. But, in Blake Sims’ debut as starting quarterback, the Crimson Tide out-gunned West Virginia’s quick-draw offense with its balanced attack. After leading by just three at halftime, Alabama took out the Mountaineers 33-23 by pounding away in the second half. Told he’d start Friday, Sims completed 24 of 33 for 250 yards including several crucial third-down conversions. Amari Cooper was his go-to target with 12 catches and 130 yards. T.J. Yeldon went for 126 rushing yards and two scores while Derrick Henry added 113 and another touchdown.
BY Jeremy Fowler, CBS Sports:
If Blake Sims is Alabama’s full-time quarterback instead of Jacob Coker — and that race seems far from over — it’s time for Nick Saban to embrace what he seemed to oppose for years. No-huddle offense. Fast Football. Sims, a fifth-year senior and first-time collegiate starter, is an athletic quarterback in a pro-style offense. He’d be perfect for some read option, but that’s not coordinator Lane Kiffin’s thing. But Saban, a self-proclaimed supporter of the “dinosaur age” offense with blocking tight ends and two backs and two receivers, admits Sims was at his best when the Tide went no-huddle. Sims was rattled in the second quarter.
The University of Alabama’s Blake Sims set Crimson Tide records for completions and attempts by a quarterback in a starting debut game, running backs T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry rushed for more than 100 yards each, and receiver Amari Cooper eclipsed 100 yards receiving in the No. 2 Crimson Tide’s 33-23 victory over West Virginia before a crowd of 70,502 (capacity: 71,228) at the Georgia Dome Saturday evening. Sims completed 24 of 33 attempts for 250 yards with one interception and did not throw a touchdown pass. The completions and attempts are the most in Crimson Tide history by a quarterback in his first start. Yeldon finished with 126 yards on 23 carries and scored two touchdowns while Henry rushed for a career-best 113 yards and a touchdown on 17 attempts. Cooper had 12 catches for 130 yards, the second-most catches in a single game ever by a Tide receiver behind DJ Hall’s 13 catches (185 yards) against Tennessee in 2007.